Travis & Sara: Westchester, NY

Rusty - September 25, 2007

42 Votes | Average: 3.69 out of 542 Votes | Average: 3.69 out of 542 Votes | Average: 3.69 out of 542 Votes | Average: 3.69 out of 542 Votes | Average: 3.69 out of 5 (42 votes, average: 3.69 out of 5)
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NAME: Travis & Sara
LOCATION: Westchester, NY
SIZE/TYPE: 2000 sq. ft. 3 bedroom, 1913 house

Travis and I decided to buy a major “fixer-upper” in Westchester County, New York, when we decided our 850 square feet in Brooklyn could not accommodate a third child. The house we bought was appealing for several reasons: 1. It needed a complete overhaul, and the low price ensured we could renovate to our picky specifications. 2. We liked the open floor plan; the stair case at the back is unusual for colonial homes and was a good use of the space. 3. All homes with children should have a place that can be used as a “race track”… where the kids can run around and around in circles, thoroughly annoying anyone in the kitchen or living room.



Nearly every surface of the home was covered in some kind of synthetic material. We featured mirrors on one wall, faux wood paneling on others, and along the entire rear of the house was white wall paper embossed with a brick pattern. Lovely.







We ripped all the surfaces clean, and thickened the wall with the fireplace so there would be no mantle. New wood floors had to be laid, thanks to several cats that left their mark in the old floors. A hole was cut in the wall by the basement stairs, and we installed a projector so we can watch movies on the wall above the fireplace. All radiators were stripped and painted black. We used an ebony stain with matte finish on the new oak floors. Soft cell honeycomb shades completed the look.





The old kitchen was tiny, and contained what we believe to be original cabinets. There was also a scary amount of bugs and mouse droppings.





We took out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, and put the majority of the cabinets where the dining room had been. A partial wall was built to house our cabinet-depth fridge, and several pantries were added. We had used the melamine Ikea cabinets before in our apartment and went with them again here. The countertops are Zodiaq, an engineered stone. All appliances are Jenn air, except for the hidden Miele dishwasher. We also put cabinets along the wall to make a built in bench, with storage. This is a great place for the kids to sit, and all their art supplies are below them and easy to access.




The old office was used as a junk storage room, as far as we could tell. There was foil wall paper along one wall, and faux wood everywhere else. Acoustic tiles were on the ceiling.



We liked the idea of a built in desk that would span the length of the room. Knoll file cabinets act as a support in the middle of the desk. This is probably our favorite room in the house; certainly where we spend the most time. We had planned a large picture wall behind the desk, but so far that hasn’t happened yet. Maybe this year.






Scary, scary, scary. Not much else to say.




We kept the tub and had it reglazed. It made a huge difference. We put in white penny tile with dark grey grout, and white subway tile on the walls. We had ordered Duravit toilets and vanities, but after our backorder date was pushed back 4 months, we gave up and purchased a Porcher toilet and sink from Expo.




This old entry way had two doors, one of which did not open. We have no idea why.



We laid slate on the floor, and had one of the doors closed off. Getting the original front door functional was not easy; we’re still working out the kinks. We added a built in bench to the side, and it has bins with shoes underneath. It matches the desk. An Eames hang it all is above.



  1. Nice floor stain.

    Comment by Zeke — September 26, 2007 @ 7:47 am

  2. WOW! That first contrasting photo - scrolling down from LR Before to LR After - was quite the shocker! In a good way, of course. I think I am feeling the commercial effects of Claratin here (peeling back the fuzzy layer to reveal a fresh and crisp new world). Job well done.

    Comment by kathy — September 29, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

  3. Excellent use of storage space. You must have learned that from your Brooklyn days.

    Comment by mTanner — September 30, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  4. This must have taken you ages to complete. It looks wonderful. However, at first glance (and second), I thought you had retained the original bathroom floor tile. They grey grout makes it look a little dingy. Also, your color choice for kitchen counters is interesting. Other than that, it\’s a winner.

    Comment by KingPen — October 1, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  5. I feel like I’m reading through Domus.

    Comment by mimi — October 2, 2007 @ 6:16 am

  6. Wow. The kitchen, living room and office space = amazing. This looks like it came right out of a Dwell magazine. Very sleek. Looks wonderful. You should be proud.

    Comment by another sara — October 2, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  7. I’ve heard so much about this house in Westchester, but never have I seen it with my own two eyes.

    I’m just sayin’.

    Comment by Chris Williams — October 2, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  8. Fantastic! Love that you kept the tub.

    Comment by Alyssa Allgaier — October 3, 2007 @ 2:16 am

  9. sterile works here.

    Comment by Suni — October 4, 2007 @ 8:43 am

  10. I’m amazed that 3 children live in this place.
    I think your living room is stunning. I also love the bench that you created out of cabinets, if I had a bigger kitchen I would totally steal that idea.

    Comment by michelle — October 5, 2007 @ 9:29 am

  11. Love the subway tiles in the bathroom. I can’t really imagine this place being a “racetrack” for kids, though. Looks too immaculate.

    Comment by cece — October 10, 2007 @ 9:52 am

  12. I disagree that sterile works here. Aside from a bench and a racetrack the common living areas of this house are strictly for adults who desire to live in a very sterile enviroment.

    Comment by Kate — October 10, 2007 @ 11:33 am

  13. comments like #12 crack me up. obviously, when taking photos of our house, we CLEANED UP the toys. and the paints. and the play dough and lite brite and giant stuffed dinosaurs (well, those are on a bed upstairs). our idea of good storage is a system where everything can be behind closed doors, when not in use.

    were you to drop by in the middle of the day (say, like right now) it would be evident that children play and thrive here. we don’t lock them up in the basement to keep the environment “sterile”!

    Comment by sara — October 10, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

  14. My parents had that foil chrysanthemum/lattice wallpaper in their kitchen in the late 70s. That was a shuddery flashback.

    Love what you’ve done.

    Comment by scoxsmith — October 11, 2007 @ 6:33 am

  15. It looks like nobody lives there! It must be disconcerting to have a 1913 exterior and a midcentury-modern-meets-the-Jetsons interior. An interesting and successful exercise in design, but very impersonal, cold and unwelcoming.

    Comment by Delia — October 11, 2007 @ 9:47 am

  16. I think this home is not sterile. It is clean, bright, peaceful and beautiful. Great job!

    Comment by Tessa — October 11, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

  17. Stunning.
    I love the clean uncluttered environment, and the bare walls look great.
    You created a home to grow into with art and sculpture for this beautiful clean space.
    Now let the kid out of the cellar ;-)

    Comment by Dew — October 12, 2007 @ 6:19 am

  18. I want to add that I think it was brilliant you painted that old fashioned radiator in the bathroom black.
    It’s so great looking and turns it into a small sculpture by painting it black.
    I’m glad you were not tempted to put a cabinet over it.

    Comment by Dew — October 12, 2007 @ 6:29 am

  19. Your old kitchen cabinets? Those were ours, right down to the green and red under the same mustardy yellow paint. Even the hinges are the same, and we’re on the opposite coast. Oh, and you mean it’s not okay to lock the kids in the basement so things stay tidy? Oops.

    Comment by Donna — October 13, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

  20. oof. i’ll take the embossed wallpaper and rodent droppings, thank you. way to take a cute house and suck out any remaining bit of charm.

    Comment by steven — October 14, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

  21. yikes. i’ve heard a rumour that it IS possible to blend clean, contemporary design with personality. and warmth. and/or something that says people live here. all those white walls….yikes.

    Comment by traeb — October 15, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

  22. yeah..too much white..i think should be reserved for the feels so need life in there..and please respect the antique..there is a lot of art there..

    Comment by alejandro — October 17, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  23. Some folks are missing the point. The humans and their offspring provide the warmth and color in the house. They were not in the foreground when these pictures were taken - so you could see what they did to the house. I can tell they like color…go back and look at the hang-it-all by the entry. And read Sara’s comment.

    LOL!! alejandro and steven can have the foil wallpaper and mouse poop.

    Nice work, Westchester humans.

    Comment by nool — October 19, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

  24. I love your floors and bathroom sink! Even though I couldn’t live with so little furniture, I admire that every photo can stand alone as a work of art. You have a beautiful eye for that.

    Comment by Julie — October 21, 2007 @ 6:23 pm

  25. Whoa. Looks like you had a clear vision and were able to bring it to fruition. The simplicity of your designs is very appealing.

    Comment by Glenna — November 6, 2007 @ 10:52 pm

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  27. Beautiful job. I’ve never seen white look so soothing.

    Comment by Suzanne — December 9, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

  28. Those anti-modern comments above are cracking me up. What did you think this site was? Another arm of

    Love the white, love the furnishings, love the layout, LOVE the sleek kitchen, love the office, love all of it. Even the ghost child.

    Comment by Kersten — January 4, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  29. Great job, guys!

    Would love to know what wood/stain you chose for the floors.

    Comment by Stephanie — March 2, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  30. I would love to know what the floor stain/finish is too!
    Looks beautiful.

    Comment by Dan — June 13, 2008 @ 6:14 am

  31. Amazing transformation. I especially like the contrast between the dark flooring and walls. I initially thought the floors were a dark walnut …do you recall the exact stain you utilized to achieve this look? Thanks for sharing1

    Comment by san francisco modern — June 15, 2008 @ 6:21 am

  32. found this by accident. I love what you’ve done. Yes kid energy is wonderful in a house. So glad yours nourishes that. Love the kitchen. Are you still glad that you used IKEA? Does it hold up well?
    Love that you kept the wonderful bathtub. The lines, the size, the depth–all wonderful.

    Comment by Lois — September 22, 2008 @ 6:44 am

  33. found this by accident. I love what you’ve done. Yes kid energy is wonderful in a house. So glad yours nourishes that. Love the kitchen. Are you still glad that you used IKEA? Does it hold up well?
    Love that you kept the wonderful bathtub. The lines, the size, the depth–all wonderful.

    Comment by Lois — September 22, 2008 @ 6:44 am

  34. You did amazing work! We are also in Westchester, NY and are planning to install an IKEA kitchen. Do you have a kitchen designer and/or contractor that you’d recommend?

    Comment by Rachel — October 2, 2008 @ 7:42 am

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